Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

 
Reply to this topicStart new topic
Trip Report - Camelot and Blackpool, June 10th - June 12th
WillPS
post Jun 9 2009, 5:20 PM
Post #1



Group Icon

Group: ATA Supporters
Posts: 3,201
Joined: 3-October 03
From: Sheffield
Member No.: 348



Going to Lancashire for the first time tomorrow after "winning" a couple of tickets to Camelot with my lovely girlfriend. We're using the train, and have booked into The Imperial Hotel on Blackpool's Promenade for Wednesday and Thursday nights. Does anybody have any tips for Camelot (particularly getting there from Chorley Station) or things to do in Blackpool, other than the obvious Pleasure Beach.

Might actually do a trip report as it's my first time at both parks.

Thanks in advance!!

This post has been edited by WillPS: Jun 13 2009, 12:09 AM


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
WillPS
post Jun 13 2009, 12:08 AM
Post #2



Group Icon

Group: ATA Supporters
Posts: 3,201
Joined: 3-October 03
From: Sheffield
Member No.: 348



Just got back, and phew what a few days it has been!!

Day 1: Travel to Chorley, Day in Camelot, Travel to Blackpool
Gemma Gem and I left Sheffield on Wednesday morning bound for Chorley. Our transport was verry cheap; by making use of First Great Western's 5 discount in conjunction with TransPennine Express' advance tickets, 16-25 Railcard and PlusBus, our total transport cost including bus travel in Chorley was something like 6 or 7!

Chorley was a fairly depressing place, but we didn't have to bear it for long as our bus arrived soon after we did, and took us straight out of town and in to the lovely countryside setting of Camelot. Bizarre as it may sound, I've really wanted to go to Camelot for quite a while, mainly because for a long while it was the sister park of (my beloved) American Adventure.

I was impressed by the entrance to the park, the big castle certainly sets the scene. It was also impressive that even on a Wednesday in term-time they had costumed actors doing the rounds, a nice touch. The park was not full, but not empty either - there must have been 10-15 school trips and another 40-50 cars parked up. With our free tickets (which look exactly the same as the ones which Alton Towers used until a couple of seasons ago), we made our way inside.

The park is pretty small by comparison to its former sister, and can neatly be divided in to three sections, the entrance, mostly taken up by the aforementioned castle, "Land of the Brave" where Knightmare and the other couple of 'big rides' reside and a large valley between the two. After dropping our luggage off in the very large lockers, we got straight in to the valley area and took a ride on the bizarre Dragon Flyer - a powered rollercoaster that does a couple of laps of the park's valley area. The bizarre thing? Dragon Flyer is powered by Diesel - the only coaster in the world to do so, and let me tell you it is odd hearing a coaster rev up!! We made our way off and over to Land of the Brave. Here lies the two rides which make Camelot worth visiting, yet also show most effectively the problem Camelot has.

Whirlwind, our first hit is a Maurer-Sohne Extended XC-2000 Spinning Coaster, which in terms of track and trains has a lot in common with Spinball Whizzer. Unfortunately, Whirlwind is in a much worse state. For those who don't know, Whirlwind was once a coaster travelling in the continent. Camelot have done little to disguise this - the first thing you are comfronted with is the ride's station, complete with a trailor, wheels, fairground signage and metal fairground queueing racks. It is also clear that Whirlwind has not been maintained to a very high standard, the seats are worn, the track is heavily oxidised and 80% of the ride's fairground lights are out (why don't they just leave them switched off?!?). That said, it does give a pretty good ride - a testament to Maurer perhaps.

Then it was on to Knightmare - and I'm sure you don't need me to tell you how impressive the ride of this thing is, the hype is true, it pulls pheonominal G-Forces. The only thing I'll say about the ride itself is that it isn't one you'll want to get off and go staight back on; it leaves you feel rather shaken up!! For all the fan boy hype though, you can't mistake to notice that not much has gone in to the ride other than the metal they imported from Japan - it still bares two tones of brown from where the BMRX's mountain would have covered it... and looks pretty dull in honesty.

I'll spare the details of where we ate etc.... It's a bit of a funny old place really, definitely not the ideal place for a theme park. Just like American Adventure, you can see at the park's inception the standard of theming was exceptional - areas like the castle are just superb. Again just like American Adventure, you can see exactly where it was John Rigby/Park Hall Leisure stepped down and Granada took over. It's clear that the owners aren't in it for the long game, the two key rides have had no investment other than the cost of the ride itself and it shows. Additionally, they are both pretty marketable rides, and when the enevitable happens I really hope they both can stay in the UK.

If you can get to the park cheaply, then do - Knightmare makes it worthwhile.

We left at about 3:30pm and travelled on to Blackpool where we checked in at The Imperial Hotel.

Days 2 & 3: Pleasure Beach Blackpool
After a superb breakfast buffet, Gem and I hopped on a tram bound for Pleasure Beach. First impressions I have to say were very good... the park's entrance looks sharp and was well secured. We prebooked so as to receive my JS employee discount, but I was surprised that there was no separate line or anything for us. I understand this is the park's first year as a closed doors pay-for-entry type thing, but the system is really flakey. As a wristband holder, you receive a wristband (obviously) and a "Pleasure Beach pass" which will get you through the gates... but only once.

What's the point in that? Why not roll it all in to the wristband and/or pass - have two seperate things is confusing. You might thing the pass would readmit you should you leave (as any other ticket based entry attraction I've been to would) - well you'd be wrong. In short, I don't get it, and it needs simplifying.

Again, I wont mention everything we did particularly, but I'll pull out a few key points:
  • The park is completely littered with SBNO attractions and shells of former attractions. Mothballing rides is tantamount to suicide in terms of reputation, as we all know Alton Towers experienced back in 2003/4.
  • Further to this point, the park have a serious problem in the area around Avalanche - Alpine Golf is closed yet still there looking very shabby and bringing down the appearance of the park, Space Invader 2 is closed (although this isn't explained or clarified any), The Whip is nothing but a shell and to add to this on most days RollerCoaster is SBNO!
  • The two(?) former entrance areas need some work as well, the Monorail and Pleasure Beach Express stations are all still there, Mr. Funshine and all!
  • We were lucky enough to get on RollerCoaster a few times, and it's such a good ride. Silky smooth compared to Grand National, and still charming and enjoyable. Permanent closure and/or demolition would be a terrible mistake.
  • Big Dipper was closed all day on both days. Some fairly drastic wood renewal seemed to be taking place in the Steeplechase area.
  • Infusion is good, yet it doesn't ride like new and I feel it's slightly cheeky to dress up a ride as new, when it is in fact the decade old bastard child of a park bulldozed under questionable circumstances by Pleasure Beach.
  • I really liked Wild Mouse, Steeplechase, Grand National, Avalanche and RollerCoaster
  • Ghost Train is a joke and should by stripped and refurbished.
  • Alice Ride is totally weird, and seems like the sort of thing that'd upset more children than it would entertain. UV lighting is really inappropriate in my opinion.
  • Trauma Towers' shutters went up and down several times over the two days. Although the animatronics in the entrance area were active, the words "Ride Closed All Day" on A4 paper put ends to any hope of getting a go on it.
  • Installing a new fountain show in an area dominated by an SBNO ride seems like a strange choice.


Don't get me wrong, I really liked PBB and am looking forward to returning, I just kind of expect popularity to nosedive pretty soon because of all of this SBNO nonsense.

I intend to punctuate all this with pictures pretty soon.


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
chapmanmania
post Jun 13 2009, 10:33 PM
Post #3





Group: Members
Posts: 431
Joined: 1-April 08
From: Sheffield
Member No.: 12,800



Nice report. I didn't realise that the new system no longer allowed you to come and go as you please. I imagine it's a bid to get you to eat/drink from park vendors, it probably makes it easier to enforce who is/isn't allowed to be inside. Still, I sort of like the flexibility at seaside parks to nip out for a sit on the beach every now and again as a break from the rides.

It's a shame about the state the Pleasure Beach is in this year and makes me glad I went in 2007 and 2008. I actually like Trauma Tower (even if sections of the walk through were borderline dangerous in 2007 as there were light bulbs missing), if only for the tagada at the end. Messing around with the payment system, closing several attractions and installing a fountain is a complete joke and makes the whole park look badly managed. sad.gif

The Express did a recent interview with Amanda Thomson, that highlights a few of her aims for the park, and how she believes she can save the British Tourist Industry.


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
WillPS
post Jun 14 2009, 1:49 PM
Post #4



Group Icon

Group: ATA Supporters
Posts: 3,201
Joined: 3-October 03
From: Sheffield
Member No.: 348



Thanks smile.gif

You can go out and in, but you have to get your hand stamped - why!? I guess to stop you from passing your ticket on, but still is there really going to be much problems with that when the park is only open, at most, 10am to 6pm?!

I think Pleasure Beach needs to concentrate on the present tense - if they're going to draw people in then it'll be now when more people are holiday'ing in the UK, SBNO attractions is not the way forward.


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Dan
post Jun 14 2009, 8:11 PM
Post #5


Web Developer
Group Icon

Group: Admin
Posts: 5,993
Joined: 12-January 03
From: Wrexham, UK
Member No.: 12



Interesting report, cheers for that Will!


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
meames
post Jun 14 2009, 8:36 PM
Post #6





Group: Members
Posts: 2,457
Joined: 12-January 03
From: Sarf Yorkshire
Member No.: 11



QUOTE (WillPS @ Jun 14 2009, 2:49 PM) *
I think Pleasure Beach needs to concentrate on the present tense - if they're going to draw people in then it'll be now when more people are holiday'ing in the UK, SBNO attractions is not the way forward.


Well said that man......after having our 1st holiday in the UK for years recently, it really is aparant that now is the time for the Pleasure Beach, Alton Towers, anybody else, to rake the cash in. We found it really hard to find a hotel and some of the places we visited we packed considering that it was not school holiday time too.

They need to get everything open and go nuts with UK wide advertising and voucher schemes.

This post has been edited by meames: Jun 14 2009, 8:37 PM


--------------------


-I was God Once
-Yes, I saw. You were doing well until everybody died
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post

Reply to this topicStart new topic

 



Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 23rd July 2017 - 2:51 PM